Why Hemorrhoids Are So Painful

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Why Do Hemorrhoids Hurt?

Hemorrhoids. A Pain. But WhyHemorrhoids.  Most adults have them.  In fact more than one half of the adult population has reported having symptomatic hemorrhoids.  Hemorrhoids do not respect gender, race or age.  They can occur in big cities like Los Angeles and in smaller cities like Beverly Hills, Culver City or West Hollywood.  Hemorrhoids are everywhere.

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We all know about the over the counter preparations sold in order to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with hemorrhoids.  Preparation H® is perhaps the best known of all of these.  The basic ingredient in most preparations is some form of vaseline to soothe and lubricate the anal area.   Even remedies prescribed by a proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon, will contain some form of lubricant or soothing agents.

Tell Me More.  Symptoms.

Hemorrhoids are normal bundles of nerves, arteries, veins and connective tissue.  They are present from birth and serve to cushion the anal area during the passage of stool.  When hemorrhoids enlarge, they can cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Itching
  • A discharge
  • Prolapse (protrusion) 

Why do they enlarge?

Not even your proctologist can tell you exactly why enlargement begins.  Theories include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged sitting on the toilet
  • Constipation
  • Excessive straining during bowel movements

Why Do They Hurt?

When the hemorrhoids enlarge the mucosa,  or the lining over the hemorrhoids, stretches. This lining is full of nerve fibers.  When they stretch, the nerve fibers send pain signals to the brain.  Additionally, when there is prolonged moisture at the anal area, the area becomes irritated, much like a baby rash.  Hence, Pain.  And more pain.  In the misguided belief that anal cleanliness is important, soap is used to “clean” the area.  This only serves to aggravate the pain.  Soap use is counter-productive.

What To Do Next?

A trip to the proctologist is in order.  You will be gently examined and treated, usually with prescription creams or ointments.  Stool softeners may be suggested and other treatments such as hemorrhoidal sclerotherapy (painless injections) may be used.  Importantly, you will be reassured that you do not have anything more serious causing the problem.  This is important.  If you are over the age of 50, or if you have other historical findings or symptoms, a colonoscopy may be recommended.  Hopefully, after your visit, you will be returned to the path of anal health.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates.

Board certified surgeons are available at Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates, to speak with you in a calming and confidential manner, examine you and inform you of your treatment options.  There are many choices in the treatment of symptomatic hemorrhoidal disease.  You may call for an appointment at (310)273-2310.  Additionally, pre-appointment forms and literature are available at the office website.

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